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Musings and Meanderings

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Ah the weekend

My heels hurt. I worked 25 hrs this weekend, busy days except for Sunday evening where the last hour was completely dead. Sold a cell phone today though, and the bonus on that made the day worth it. All these things become very unimportant though in the light of what also occurred today.

When I was checking my email via Yahoo online, I found a disturbing e-Mail from my Dad alluding to my brother being in the hospital. Apparently Andrewski had the worst of these very bad days he has been having and decided to admit himself to the hospital, before he did any harm to himself.

So Dad is off to Europe to be with Andrewski. I had a informational conversation with Greg and MW during my break at work so I'm pretty up to speed.

I am very impressed with the way Dad has stepped up to the plate so to speak with Andrewki's situation. I am not, however, surprised. Dad and I have had a very good relationship for quite a few years now, and his action of dropping everything and going to see Andrewski is not at all surprising to me.

I'll be calling Andrewski tomorrow on his cell phone to chat with him.
posted by Mike 11:25 PM

Friday, November 26, 2004

Black Friday

Well I did it. Black Friday. 12 hrs on my feet.

Woke up of all mornings, on this morning, with the killer sinuses. I get them every year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. I think it has to do with the change in the seasons.

So this was not good. I filled up four baggies with Echinacea, 2k Mg of Vit C, Tylenol, and Advil and then as almost an afterthought I took one of Alexander's "soft tab" Claritin's. WOW. That stuff really works, and didn't make me feel like my head was in a fog like the anti-histamines I am use to.

So any way: Black Friday. Some wit in Marketing decided to "Target Market" zip codes in the Capital District based upon data still unknown. Practical upshot is that the central part of the Capital District did not have the Radio Shack flyer in the Thanksgiving Times Union, though the outlying areas did. This flyer powers Black Friday, and in the end, we just missed meeting last year's numbers. Black indeed.

I had a decent day. Feet and throat hurt like hell by the end of the day, but I perceived it to go fairly fast. Sure enough, at the 13th hour or so my head started really hurting again, sneezing, watery eyes etc, so I took another Claritan.

Better living through Chemistry.
posted by Mike 11:30 PM

Thursday, November 25, 2004

2004 Turkey Trot

Here we are at the start of Alexander's third annual Troy Turkey Trot. The "grade school" kids run a mile.

We are very proud of Alex for wanting to run this year, because he was definitely not ready or trained. His time was, alas, slower than last year.

But he did it and that is what counts, and here is the finish:

posted by Mike 9:23 AM

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A great opportunity

I re registered with some Headhunting firms last week including my old friend Mark at ExecuSearch. He was the one who got me into the CableShoppe oh so many years ago now.

Got a call almost immediately, as he remembered what I had gone through with the CS in the early days, as Ned was trying to not pay him. Anyway he said he had some candidates in a job interview situation and he would see if we could get me in the door as well.

So the call came this week, and I set the appointment for Friday at 2pm. Got there 15 min early and met with one of the owners. This company is a Network Services company providing B2B services from phone systems to Network building and monitoring.

They have been growing rapidly and the less technical owner has been doing the sales. He feels the need to grow the company and cannot do it without a "real" salesman. In addition they have tried out others in the past and not been successful so they went with Headhunters this time. A total of 12 "candidates" will be winnowed down to 3, to one.

So the interview took an hour. I was very nervous, sweaty palms the works, of course. Opportunities like this do not come along very often. I used every "trick" I knew such as rephrasing, copying seating position, the works to build rappour. We chatted about his needs and I gave him some good ideas I thought.

Problem was, I couldn't get him to show any "ownership". I bent and molded sentences that would let him say things like We or Us or You and the Company, just couldn't get it out of him. That and my one mistake during the interview regarding a discussion of women salespeople (ie I brought up how good they were on a staff and he mentioned that they had not tried a woman in that position yet .. oops) made me feel that I'd wasted an hour.

Well imagine my surprise when the Headhunter called that night to tell me I'd ACED the interview and that even though there was one candidate left to interview on Monday, the partner I'd interviewed with was going to recommend me for the final round. Apparently he had not called this Headhunter on the other candidates!

So before you all get all excited, the final person has to be interviewed in Monday, then I need to get a call actually telling me I have an appointment to see them again. But it feels better than when I left thats for sure. The job has a base, commissions and future vesting in the company. Room for growth as well.

Keep good thoughts.
posted by Mike 9:05 PM

Friday, November 19, 2004

Well this didn't take long

I got this email today. I bolded the lines I liked the best:

I want to thank you personally for what you did in the election -- you rewrote the book on grassroots politics, taking control of campaigns away from big donors. No campaign will ever be the same.

You moved voters, helped hold George Bush accountable, and countered the attacks from big news organizations such as Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting, and conservative talk radio.

And your efforts count now more than ever. Despite the words of cooperation and moderate sounding promises, this administration is planning a right wing assault on values and ideals we hold most deeply. Healthy debate and diverse opinion are being eliminated from the State Department and CIA, and the cabinet is being remade to rubber stamp policies that will undermine Social Security, balloon the deficit, avoid real reforms in health care and education, weaken homeland security, and walk away from critical allies around the world.

Regardless of the outcome of this election, once all the votes are counted -- and they will be counted -- we will continue to challenge this administration. This is not a time for Democrats to retreat and accommodate extremists on critical principles -- it is a time to stand firm.

I will fight for a national standard for federal elections that has both transparency and accountability in our voting system. It's unacceptable in the United States that people still don't have full confidence in the integrity of the voting process.

I ask you to join me in this cause.

And we must fight not only against George Bush's extreme policies -- we must also uphold our own values. This is why on the first day Congress is in session next year, I will introduce a bill to provide every child in America with health insurance. And, with your help, that legislation will be accompanied by the support of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

There are more than eight million uninsured children in our nation.

That's eight million reasons for us to stay together and fight for a new direction. It is a disgrace that in the wealthiest nation on earth, eight million children go without health insurance.

Normally, a member of the Senate will first approach other senators and ask them to co-sponsor a bill before it is introduced -- instead, I am turning to you. Imagine the power of a bill co-sponsored by hundreds of thousands of Americans being presented on the floor of the United States Senate. You can make it happen. Sign our "Every Child Protected" pledge today and forward it to your family, friends, and neighbors:

This is the beginning of a second term effort to hold the Bush administration accountable and to stand up and fight for our principles and our values. They want you to disappear; they are counting on that. I'm confident you will prove them wrong, and you will rewrite history again.

Here is what I want you to know. I understand the strength, commitment, and passion that are at the core of what we built together -- and I am determined to make our collective energy and organization a force to be reckoned with in the weeks and months ahead.

Let's roll up our sleeves and get back to work for our country.

Thank you,

John Kerry

posted by Mike 9:19 PM
Some fun places you can go

Here is a list of some amusing web sites to visit. Clicking will open a new browser window so you can always get back here.

ALLERCA is working to produce the world's first hypoallergenic cats.

Someone has found the Lost Continent of Atlantis.

The Beeb has come up with a very cute Flash Game called MicroLife.

'Brain' in a dish flies flight simulator.

Tired of your old God? Get a new one at God Checker.

The Necronautical Society makeing trips to the Afterlife!

Today in Alternate History Blog is updated daily and should be on your faves.

If you are really bored with you Mini Cooper your can Transform it!!

Finally so you don't think I have way too much time on your hands, all these great weird sites were brought to my attention by the Daily Illuminator!
posted by Mike 8:06 AM

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Right closes its fist on the House of Representatives

Proving that at least the House of Representatives is a one Party body, House Republicans today in a bold move changed party rules regarding the eligibility of House leadership if they are under indictment for a Felony.

Well what the hell if Italy can do it we can too right?

So what does this mean to the average American.

It means that if Tom "jerrymander" DeLay is actually endighted for the two felonies he is under investigation for, he can still serve as the House Majority Leader.

Doesn't that just fill your heart with Patriotism?

Seems in his hurry to Jerrymander Texas so that he could screw 5 Democrats out of their seats, he failed to follow Corporate Campaign Laws regarding use of monies. But really, who needs to follow the law???? His party owns the White House, the Senate, the House and is ideologically about to take the Supreme Court as well.

The most the Democrats could do, because this was a Republican Party rule change was issue this blinding scathing statement:

"If Republicans believe that an indicted member should be allowed to hold a top leadership position in the House of Representatives, their arrogance is astonishing," the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, said in a statement.

Nancy you work with these people, how can you possibly be astonished at anything they do???
posted by Mike 8:46 PM

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Fundies Strike Again

APPARENTLY down in Texas they have been having "cross dressing" day at one of the local school districts for some time now. Or at least that is what some Christian Taliban has called it.

TWIRP, which stands for "The Woman Is Requested to Pay," was hosted by Spurger schools for years during Homecoming Week — to give boys and girls a chance to reverse social roles and let older girls invite boys on dates, open doors and pay for sodas.

Two things are of imporant to remember. One that Homecoming week is usually a High School event, or so I remember. Second this has been a tradition for some time now apparently.

Knock me over with a feather that this even happened in freakin Texas. This is the land of drive through liquor stores! So kudos to the far thinking educator that had boys and girls "walk a mile in someone elses shoes" for a day.

So along comes Mrs. Delana "Christian Taliban" Davies who has a 9 yr old and a 4 yr old and lays this thoughtful and intelligent quote on us:

"It's like experimenting with drugs," Davies said. "You just keep playing with it and it becomes customary. ... If it's OK to dress like a girl today, then why is it not OK in the future?"

And of course since any idiot who can dial a phone can find a lawyer, the school district has stopped this tradition. Mrs Davis was ably helped by the obviously misnamed Liberty Legal Institute who stated "came to the aid of a concerned parent" and that:

"It is outrageous that a school in a small town in east Texas would encourage their 4-year-olds to be cross-dressers,"

Heh. Liberty.

Anyway. It gets more surreal. Guess what they replaced TWIRP day with?

"Camo Day" — with black boots and Army camouflage to be worn by everyone who wants to participate.

Note to Congress: If Texas ever wants to become the Republic Of Texas again..


posted by Mike 11:02 PM

Saturday, November 13, 2004

A "Third Way"?

It is quite nice to be able to return to commentary of a less political nature now that the election is over. Obviously I've taken a break from blogging, which I will be easing back into slowly.

So it was with great interest that I began to go over my November issue of Wired. Arriving in a plastic envelope because stored inside the front cover was a CD containing 16 songs by a wide variety of artists.

What was special about this was that all of these artists have agreed to allow you to "Rip, Mix, Burn. Swap till you drop" these tunes. They have all signed up for a innovative new licensing concept founded by Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, called the Creative Commons.

Simply stated the CC license allows anyone and everyone to swap the songs on any P2P network as long as you don't resell them. Furthermore it allows you, me or any artist to sample any part of the song, and integrate them into something fresh and new, though you cannot sell that song. This is the MOST RESTRICTIVE of the CC licenses. Three of the artists on the CD went this route.

However the other 13 licensed their music a step further down the free intellectual property ladder by also allowing commercial application of sound bytes sampled from their music. Simply stated you can sample these songs and try to publish them yourself, without going through the labyrinthine tortures of lawyers and copyright fees.

This is a third way because it is a middle ground between the Pirates and the RIAA. It puts control back in the hands of the artists by allowing them to decide to what level a piece of music is to be distributed without royalty or licensing fees.

I urge anyone who cares about the freedom of Intellectual Property, Open Sourcing and the purity of artistic intent to purchase this issue of Wired, get the CD, read the article, and buy from these artists.

There is something for every taste, from Ambeint, to Alternative Country, to urban including artists like Chuck D, David Byrne, The Beastie Boys, Gilberto Gil, Paul Westerburg, My Morning Jacket and many others. No doubt you will be happy to hear this diverse grouping of musical styles and may find some artist you had not heard of. You can click on the banner at the top of this blog entry to read more about the CD and and the CC.

In the end the only way to stop the inexorable tide of lawyers carrying RIAA credentials is with an economic vote, your dollar. Support the artists and labels who are flexible, do not buy those who are not. Simple easy and effective.
posted by Mike 9:24 PM

Friday, November 12, 2004

Radio Daze

Ok so I got the "night" job. Radio Shack of all places. A place for my inner geek to go and get paid. I urge you if you are friend or family, shop at the Colonie Center RadioShack! Better yet go when I'm there so I get the commissions....

Yea greedy but why give your business to a stranger??

I spent today, and I mean ALL of today (10 t0 930) doing in store training. Watching videos, reading corporate propaganda, and taking online tests. I took 7, of which none scored lower than a 93%. So I'm doing pretty good.

Today was the last day of the pay period so I will actually get a check next week. I'm allowed 32 hrs a week till "Black Friday" then I can go to 40 if I want (I think). Then after Christmas I either get the ax as a seasonal or get asked to stay on. Well we will see.

In addition this week:

I got registered with the temp agencies, and got the paper work from Albany School District to apply for Substitute. The mandarin at Troy has failed two attempts now to send me the paperwork. I'll keep trying.

So I'll be on Tues through Fri next week, plus 11 to 6 on Sunday. Monday Off.

Now cut ties with TSI or not? The 64k quesion at this point.
posted by Mike 10:30 PM

Friday, November 05, 2004

Nice to see people are responding.

In fact I so enjoyed this rebuttal to my last blog that I am posting both it and my responce below. This person is a very bright Conservative whose opinions, I don't agree with, but respect.

The rebutal:

Glad to see you took the election results so well...."body bags, endless war and rapine and pillaging of our economy by the rich..." All in the first sentence...Didn't take too long to get to the point did it...

Sure 48% of America picked John Kerry and a large part of that 48% (like you) would likely vote for him no matter who or what he was, because they are Democrats. Don't get me wrong, the Republicans have the same clan. They would vote for Daffy Duck if he had an "R" after his name on the ballot.

That explains 90 to 95 percent of America, but how do we explain the 5 to 10 percentage in the middle...most of them picked a guy that, in your own words, creates body bags, endless war, rapes and pillages our economy for the rich...I think it says a lot more about Kerry than it does Bush. I mean really, did Bush win, or did Kerry just plain loose? My view is the latter more than the former. If Kerry couldn't beat the president with what has been going on in this country, he probably shouldn't have been in the race to start with. Bad economy, bad things happening with the war...this should have been a no-brainer.

My reply

I think it was a combination of things. One thing the pudits just had wrong was the way the undecided would fall. In a "non war" footing yes, undecided fall to the challenger. But in a War Footing, the undecided chose to stay the course and not change Generals mid stream.

Also do not underestimate the power that the Fundamentalist Right had in putting people in the Voting Booth this election. It has already been shown that they did a better job of putting new and non voters into the booth on election day.

Did people vote FOR Bush or AGAINST Kerry. I think it was a bit of both. The Right succeeded, and the Left failed to counter, in painting an bleak and mostly false picture of the Senator. Points to the Rovian Politcal Machine on that one.

However I cannot stress enough the power of the pulpit to re-elect GWB this term. He is one of them, says the right "code words" in his speeches to indicate his Born Again faith. The Dems have nothing like this to counter the intensity of emotion that the Radical Right Wing Conservatives can froth up.

I do not pull any punches. The facts are there for all to see. Returning the Bush/Cheney team with their cadre of Neo-Conservatives is a huge lurch further to the right for this country. This means a Privatization of Social Security. A new Supreme Court which will sweep aside Roe V Wade. More Tax Cuts for the Rich and Powerful in the thought that it stimulates the Economy (any student of history will know that it didn't work in the 80's and won't work now). More inroads by Corporations into the public weal in environment, health care and energy policy.

Not to mention a continuation of the "Bush Doctrine" (their term not mine) where unilateral military attacks of countries that "we" think are a possible threat to our National Security are accepted and indeed encouraged. This is the most heinous of all the things this Administration has grafted upon American Foreign Policy. The idea that This Great Country would be the first to attack a country is antethetical to our history. And before I get the "well they attackes us first", I am referring to Iraq, not Afganistan.

Keep those replies coming!!
posted by Mike 3:54 PM

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

America has spoken

I guess it will take four more years of body bags, endless war, rapine and pillage of our economy by the rich and powerful for the American populace to realize what is being done to this great country.

No way Kerry wins Ohio, 100% of the votes are already cast and Bush got 51%. I don't see how "provisional balloting" is going to change this.

More disturbing was the loss of 3 to 5 senate seats and a quite a few house seats to the Republicans as well.

This country is officially a one party country as of today, with people like Tom Delay in power in the house, and people like Tom Dashle out in the Senate, the Republicans will force thier conservative christian right wing agenda upon 100% of the American People.

I'm not sure I feel worse for Democrats like myself or Republicans like my Dad. Although this is a crushing disappointment for 48% of Americans, the real blow is to the moderates in the Republican Party as this is a vindiacation for the Radical Right wing of that party. It says to them, what you are doing is sanctioned by the Majority of the American Public.

Tax cut and spend like the dickens, it's OK!
Give Corporate Tax Breaks, its OK!
Wage war on any Country that disagree's with US, its OK!
Ignore hard science regarding Global Warming, its OK!
Turn back the clock on Womens Rights, its OK!
Allow Big Business to pillage the Environment, its OK!

Although this election will cause great disruption in the DNC for some time, it will come out stronger and more united by the outrageous things that this Administration will do in the next four years. In the interim it is time to fire the leader of the DNC and get some new blood in there. It is also time to re invograte the New Democrat wing of this party.

For the few remaining moderates in the Rebulican Party, the "Rockefeller Republicans" I pity you the most. Marginalized and swept aside by this election.
posted by Mike 8:49 AM

Monday, November 01, 2004

Here is some good news.....

A 144-page report, which is due to be officially released a week after Tuesday’s elections, says the accelerated warming of the globe – which it blames mostly on the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by the industrial age – is transforming the Arctic region dramatically.

The Arctic “is now experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on Earth,” according to the report, which was obtained by the New York Times and the Washington Post this weekend, apparently from European sources that wanted to publicize its findings before Tuesday. “Over the next 100 years, climate change is expected to accelerate, contributing to major physical, ecological, social and economic changes, many of which have already begun,” the report stated, adding that greenhouse gas emissions have clearly become “the dominant factor” in the Arctic’s changing climate.

It confirms earlier studies that the Arctic has warmed and is warming at a much faster rate than the Earth as a whole. While the Earth has warmed by roughly one degree Fahrenheit over the past century – that is, the bulk of the industrial age – temperature increases in the Arctic area have been as much as ten times greater.

That warming has produced dramatic, across-the-board effects on both the climate and the land. Once solid tundra or permafrost has turned ever soggier, while animal, fish, and plant species that have thrived in the region for millennia are either moving northward or dying out. The report predicted that polar bears, ice-loving seals and indigenous people who rely on the two large mammals for food are likely to be devastated by the changes, particularly the melting of sea ice throughout the Arctic.

“The major message is that climate change is here and now in the Arctic,” Dr. Robert Corell, a U.S. oceanographer who directed the assessment, told the Times.

Not all of these changes are due solely to changes in temperature; also cited are a number of other human-caused factors, including overfishing, growing human population, and rising levels of ultra-violet radiation from the depleted ozone layer, as contributing to the change.

“The sum of these factors threatens to overwhelm the adaptive capacity of some Arctic populations and ecosystems,” according to a section of the report quoted by the Times.

But the consequences of what is happening to the Arctic are certain to be global in scope, according to Gunnar Palsson, the chairman of the Arctic Council, who told the Post the region should be seen as “sort of a bellweather” for the rest of the planet. “In order to contain these problems, we cannot think in terms of regional solutions.”

Indeed, the melting of Arctic ice, which is taking place at a faster-than-anticipated pace, could have dire consequences on coastal areas as a result of the resulting rise in sea levels.

The melting of the two-mile-high icepack on Greenland by itself will send sea level as much as 25 feet higher, washing away low-lying islands in the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean and heavily populated coastal areas from Bangladesh to New Orleans and the Mississippi delta.

This piece liberally lifted from a Yahoo web site. It's not my prose.
posted by Mike 10:47 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind